Open Skies Accord Paves Way For Joint Ventures That American
Says Could Result In Stronger Airlines
American Airlines applauded efforts by Japanese and U.S.
negotiators Wednesday for their progress in developing an Open
Skies accord that will govern aviation in years to come. American,
a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, pressed both countries
to reach a final accord in Washington, D.C., this week during the
round of talks being held to replace the existing bilateral
"Open Skies agreements end discriminatory aviation policies and
are in the best interest of Japanese and American consumers and
airlines alike," said Will Ris, American's Senior Vice President -
Government Affairs. "Airlines with antiquated, anti-competitive
policy viewpoints might believe that it's OK to leave well enough
alone. At American Airlines, it is our experience that Open Skies
agreements have proven to increase travel choices and enhance
competition, which results in greater benefits to consumers."
By reaching an Open Skies accord, the Japanese and U.S.
governments will pave the way for Japanese and U.S. airlines to
enter into joint ventures and seek antitrust immunity, which is
what American Airlines is proposing to do with its oneworld and
long-term partner Japan Airlines (JAL). Antitrust immunity allows
airlines to coordinate schedules, operations, routes, seat
inventories and fares, and approach corporate accounts jointly
rather than separately, which provide consumers with better choices
and greater cost savings.
"It is now time for consumers and business travelers between the
two nations to benefit from the choices and options that have been
available to travelers in many other parts of the world," said Theo
Panagiotoulias, American Airlines Vice President - Asia and
Pacific. "American Airlines is looking for opportunities to expand
our services to and through Japan, which underscores the importance
of JAL's role to be oneworld's gateway to Asia through Tokyo. A
joint venture with JAL, with whom we've had a 15-year relationship,
would allow us to do that.
"Additionally, we strongly believe that an American
Airlines-Japan Airlines joint venture would easily win U.S.
government antitrust immunity, which will help ensure JAL's short-
and long-term success," Panagiotoulias said. "American, oneworld
and TPG, one of the world's leading private investment firms, are
prepared to offer a total value proposition of in excess of USD
$1.8 billion, including direct investment of up to $1.1 billion by
American/oneworld and TPG to assist JAL to bolster its financial
foundation. This further demonstrates American's strong support for
JAL and the Japanese aviation industry, as well as for Japanese
consumers and stimulating tourism and commerce for the good of the